Study and Theory/
Lag Ba'omer

A Talmudic legend

Through God we shall do valiantly

Psalms, Chapter 60:12

“Through God we shall do valiantly; for He it is that shall tread down our enemies”

 

Rabbi Akiva when he saw that same Bar Kochba, he said: This is the King of Kings. Rabbi Yohanan Ben Torta said to him: Akiva, Weeds will grow and he will still not come.

 

Rabbi Yohanan said: Eighty thousand pairs of trumpet blowers besieged Beitar and Ben Kosiva was there and he had two hundred thousand with amputated fingers. The Sages sent to him: How long are you going to disfigure the Jews? He said to them: And how will they check? They said to him: Anyone who doesn’t uproot a cedar tree from Lebanon will not be part of your band. And I had two hundred from here and there. And when they used to go to battle they said: Don’t help and don’t destroy, saying: “Through God we shall do valiantly; for He is that shall tread down our enemies”.

 

Hereinafter are the legends with interpretations:

Eighty thousand trumpet blowers besieged Beitar (At the head of every regiment there was one trumpet blower. This means that there were 80 thousand regiments that besieged Beitar. This number perhaps seems exaggerated but the intention of this number is to emphasize the huge army that the Roman’s brought with them to overpower the rebellion).

The Sages sent him – how long are you going to disfigure the Jews? He said to them how will they check? (A test of courage in order to be accepted to Bar Kochba’s army was to amputate the little finger).

 

They said to him: Anyone who doesn’t ride his horse and uproot a cedar from Lebanon shall not be part in your band (The Sages suggested that the soldiers prove their heroism by uprooting a tree while riding on a horse).

 

...And he had two hundred thousand from here and two hundred thousand from there (The numbers also testify to the huge size of Bar Kochba’s army = four hundred thousand soldiers. Again it is possible that this number is exaggerated but it seems that there are testimonies here to the huge scale of the army and the identification of most of the nation with the rebellion).

And what was Bar Kochba’s power? He received stones in a catapult on one knee and threw them and killed several men (And what was Bar Kochba’s power? He would stop the trajectory of the large sling stones that were thrown by the Romans towards his army, he would return them to the Roman army and kill their soldiers).

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